Photo via Nasir Johnson (twitter).
As it turned out, Florida landing tight end Amir Jackson yesterday marked the start of a historic recruiting day for the Gators. Shortly after Jackson pulled the trigger, fellow four-star prospect Nasir Johnson joined him.
Johnson, a defensive lineman from Dublin, GA, pulled the trigger last night with a simple, telling tweet: “top priority.” Like Jackson, he committed as a direct result of the impact of his visit to Gainesville this weekend. He chose Florida over more than a dozen other Power Five schools to offer him, including Georgia, FSU, South Carolina, Tennessee, Miami, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Missouri, and Nebraska.
You can watch his high school highlights here.
Nasir Johnson plays on both sides of the line of scrimmage in high school, though he projects better on the defensive line by scouts. Lining up on the defensive side of the trenches, Johnson has a nose for the football and can blow past offensive linemen with a quick burst as well as simply bully his way past them with brute strength. And at 6’3, 270 lbs. he’s still got some room to fill out his frame.
Johnson typically lines up as a 5 technique player, although he’s versatile enough that he can move around a little bit and control multiple gaps. While he’s technically listed as a DT on his Hudl tape, he shows the ability to be similarly destructive at a variety of positions within that defensive line. He doesn’t have that prototypical nose tackle build where he’s only expected to be a run-clogger; he’s a true jack-of-all-trades defensive lineman who can be used to stop both the run and the pass.
But even for as excited as Gator fans should be about the sheer football talent that Billy Napier added with Nasir Johnson, it’s even more important because of the dire need at the position he comes in at.
The Florida defensive line room was thin and, well, not very good last year, and then the best player on that unit departed for the NFL. So there was a need to load up on the defensive line in this recruiting class; Napier realized it, put together a plan to address that need, and executed it with not one but two commits at that position yesterday. Now throw in the fact that the defensive line is one of the two most important non-QB positions in the game of football, and it’s really difficult to not like what he’s doing on the recruiting trail these days.
The 247Sports Composite ranking system has Johnson ranked as the #250 player in the 2024 recruiting class. As a result, eight of Florida’s 13 commits in the 2024 class are among the top 250 players in their class.
Blue-chip Billy, indeed.